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Buttigieg Slams Fox News Hosts; Amash Calls for Impeachment; Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is Interviewed About Impeachment; Koepka Wins PGA Championship. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired May 20, 2019 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A predicament. They're going to be in a predicament of how to continue to placate Donald Trump as they have because they know that they've made a mint on this for the past three years where he doesn't like to see any Democratic candidates on their air.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": No, that's exactly right. I mean Trump expects Fox News to talk the way he talks, to say -- to push out his agenda. And we know, based on reporting from "The New Yorker" and from "The New York Times" that Fox News and the Trump administration have a very close relationship specifically with anchors like Sean Hannity where there is a lot of coordination in how to get the president's message out. So when he sees a town hall with whether it's Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg, it's very obvious that it frustrates him because he feels as though they're encroaching on his turf in a news outlet that he considers to be very cozy with him.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's hear a little bit more from Mayor Buttigieg, because I think he went on to this town hall last night with two sort of prefabricated statements made. One was about the Fox News hosts and the other one was about the president's statements about him, specifically that tweet or tweets like it that he knew were coming. Listen to what Mayor Buttigieg said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, The tweets are -- I don't care.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: But -- and that gets a lot of applause here. The fact is, it's a very effective way for him to reach tens of millions of Americans.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, it's a very effective way to command the attention of the media. And --
WALLACE: Well --
BUTTIGIEG: I think that --
WALLACE: That --
BUTTIGIEG: You know, we need to make sure that we're -- we're changing the channel from this show that he's created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, Toluse, he came on with a way to take on Fox and take on the president in those subtle ways. What did you make of it?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, the mayor is looking for a way to talk about President Trump and his antics and his tweets without getting into a mud-slinging match with the president. Other candidates have tried to get down into the mud with the president in 2016. We saw some of the Republican candidates try to do that and it just made them look bad and it gave President Trump more ammunition to go against them.
So a number of Democrats are looking for ways to engage with the president. The voters obviously want to see someone who can take the fight to President Trump, but not necessarily do it in a way that gets them dinged up with all kinds of negative hit jobs on themselves by getting into the mud with the president.
So I think Mayor Pete Buttigieg is looking for a way to talk about President Trump and sort of diminish him and sort of turn the page from him and give voters another option. And it does look like more Democrats are looking to go down that route.
There are other Democrats that are looking to take on the president more directly. You've seen Joe Biden sort of speak about the president and say this is all about sort of defeating President Trump in 2020 and making sure that we turn the page from his presidency. But it's going to be a long race in which we see different strategies. And it will -- time will tell which one works. But it did seem like in that hall that the whole idea of saying I don't care about the president's tweet played well with the audience.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I would be interested to know how Fox booked their audience, because that's not what people expect from the Fox News viewers, that reaction, and so they probably booked Democratic primary voters for relevance, but it would be interesting to hear the back story on that.
Meanwhile, something remarkable happened this weekend, and that is that the first Republican talked about seeing evidence that President Trump should be impeached. So this is Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan. And he tweeted out, he said he had read the entire report, Mueller report, and here are his principal conclusions. Number one, Attorney General Bill Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report. Number two, President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. Number three, partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. Number four, few members of Congress have read the report. All of those, other than number three, are pretty stunning, John.
And what do you make of a conservative Republican coming out and saying this publicly?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, the fact that Justin Amash is being consistent with his libertarian principles and that makes him a target for Trump voters speaks a lot to how the party has drifted towards hyper partisanship and away from its principles. And, look, those notes are extraordinary not only because he's the first Republican to do it, but because he's pointing out two things that are incredibly important.
One, hyper partisanship has distorted the way the founders intended our system to work. That's important. The second thing, he's saying most of his colleagues in Congress haven't bothered to read the report. That is a huge condemnation of the way that hyper partisanship makes us lazy and stupid.
BERMAN: Now, Mitt Romney, who has read the report, says he took two days to read it, called the stance from Amash courageous --
BERMAN: But -- but he did not see the obstruction that Mueller laid out as impeachable. But it was notable that Mitt Romney called it courageous.
And, Laura, every other Republican, though, as far as I can tell, including the apparatus, the political apparatus of the Trump Organization and the Republican National Committee coming down hard on Justin Amash. He seems to be a man without a country at this point.
[06:35:02] BARRON-LOPEZ: No. Yes, that's right. And it will be interesting to see whether or not any other Republicans decide to come forward, and no one really expects them to, to make the same statement that Amash did. In fact, we actually expect as early as today a state representative in Michigan to announce a primary against Justin Amash. Something that Trump will most likely endorse given Amash's tweet this weekend.
But also the thing to look for now after Amash has issued this statement is whether or not this emboldens any other House Democrats that are in battleground districts, that have kind of been waffling about whether or not they actually want to pursue impeachment, this could give them a little bit of a push, if you will, over the coming weeks.
CAMEROTA: You know, Toluse, Justin Amash has been critical of the president for years now. I mean he's the one who has been bold when -- when the president does something or tweets something, Justin Amash will say something. He's the one who famously, after one of the president's tweets, I think about Congressman John Lewis, Justin Amash said, dude, just stop.
OLORUNNIPA: Yes. And we've seen a few other Republicans over the last couple of years speak out against the president. A lot of them have left Congress since last year, have been either retired by the president or decided they couldn't continue the fight. So it will be interesting, as Laura said, to look at what happens to Justin Amash after this, if he's able to withstand the blowback from his own party. You are seeing top leaders of the Republican Party push very hard against him and really disassociate themselves from him and say that he's actually not even a Republican and point out some of his votes, which, in his mind, were on that libertarian stance. He voted against some of the bipartisan bills that have passed out of the Congress. And it's -- it will be very interesting to see how his party tries to disassociate from him.
BERMAN: All right, Toluse, Laura, John, thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: All right, now to this incredible story. An eight-year-old girl was abducted while walking down the street with her mother. Two heroes sprung into action. What they did to get the child home safely.
[06:41:01] CAMEROTA: Chicago Police are increasing patrols at all Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses in the city after acts of vandalism and attempted arson at two synagogues. Police say a man threw three Molotov cocktails at one synagogue over the weekend. Four vehicles were vandalized and had their windows smashed out.
A survivor of the Columbine School massacre was found dead over the weekend. The coroner says 37-year-old Austin Eubanks was found unresponsive at his home during a wellness check. Eubanks was shot in the hand and knee during the school attack in 1999. His best friend died on the scene. After surviving the shooting, Eubanks was prescribed opioids to help manage the pain and quickly became addicted. Eubanks recently spoke to a CNN affiliate about his struggle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUSTIN EUBANKS, COLUMBINE SHOOTING SURVIVOR: When I took those medications, I felt better. And I thought that's what they were for. It's incredibly difficult. I mean it's a journey that really doesn't ever end. If you can find the courage to actually go through the stages of grief in a healthy fashion, lean into the pain, don't look for the fast road to relief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Eubanks later became a public speaker on substance abuse issues. His family says he lost his life to a disease he had long tried to help others fight. And I just have to say, we always need to remember for the survivors of these horrible events, it doesn't end. It's a battle that lasts forever.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. What a tragic story there.
Here is a more uplifting one, because police in Ft. Worth, Texas, are thanking an alert couple for helping them find an abducted 8-year-old girl. Investigators say the girl was walking with her mother when the suspect pulled the car -- oh, sorry, pulled her, the girl, into the car. Then the mother jumped into the vehicle to try to save her but they pushed her out. This police surveillance video shows the kidnapping suspects' car driving away. Authorities say the hero couple saw the getaway car and went to search for it. They found it in a hotel parking lot and they called police. The suspect, we are happy to report, is in custody. Police are hoping to formally thank this alert couple in the coming days.
BERMAN: All because of them.
BERMAN: All because they took action.
CAMEROTA: Thank goodness for them. I mean I guess when you see something like that, you've got to take action when it unfolds before your eyes.
BERMAN: All right, for the first time a Republican member of Congress says I the president's actions are impeachable. But will this lone Republican voice change anything? We're going to be joined by a Democratic member of the Senate with some big opinions on this. That's next.
[06:47:30] BERMAN: A Republican member of Congress has broken rank with his party. Congressman Justin Amash says he believes President Trump's actions meet the threshold of impeachment. So, is this a watershed moment?
Joining us now is Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.
Thank you so much for being with us.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Good morning, John.
BERMAN: You're our very first lawmaker to appear on set with us.
HIRONO: I think it's fantastic.
BERMAN: So you can put that in your bio. You'll always have that going forward.
HIRONO: I think so. Another first.
BERMAN: Thank you very much for being with us.
So, Congressman Amash --
BERMAN: -- comes out and says he believes -- well, let me just read you a few things. He says he thinks Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. He goes on to say, he doesn't think that most Republican members or members of Congress have actually read the Mueller report.
Why does this matter? Is this a significant moment?
HIRONO: Well, it's significant only in the sense that he's the first Republican to actually come out and say that he thinks that impeachment proceedings should begin. If only other Republicans came to a similar kind of conclusion, but at least to support the various investigations that are going on, not just by Congress, but all of the 14 or so referrals that Mueller made to other investigators.
BERMAN: Does this change the equation for Democrats who might be seeking impeachment? Can you now say, hey, there is bipartisan support for this?
HIRONO: I wouldn't say one person breaking ranks is quite the bipartisan support that we'd like. But for the longest time now all of the Republicans pretty much, except for those who have retired, have closed ranks. So if this is a bit of a breach, sure, that's great, I'd like to see more, but we haven't seen signs of that in a long time.
BERMAN: Are you for impeachment at this point?
HIRONO: I've said that these are not normal times. Under normal times, the kinds of things that the president did to basically obstruct the Mueller investigation I think would lead to proceedings. So I've said that the Mueller report is a -- is a -- the -- it lays a groundwork for impeachment. But these are not normal times. And this is why I think that all of the investigations being done in the House need to proceed.
BERMAN: One of the things that Nancy Pelosi said -- she said for the first time last week was that impeachment might give the House more power to get some of the action they want, some of the documents they want, some of the witnesses they want. Do you think formal impeachment proceedings might give Congress more authority?
HIRONO: I think that's a good point because, as you notice, the White House is completely stonewalling all of the subpoenas to testify. So this is -- this is Trump. You know, this is his modus operendi even when he was in private business, he would just delay things, he would leave people holding the bag, he would file lawsuits and have lawsuits filed against him so that there would be a lot of delays. And this is what's happening. There are so many times when the president makes -- takes actions. There's something like 80 lawsuits going on right now. Every time the president makes a decision, there is usually a lawsuit. So I don't know that he cares about any of that as long as it gets him past the re-election.
[06:50:31] BERMAN: Just to give you a sense, though, of where the American public is in the most recent polling, 37 percent say the president should be impeached or removed from office, 59 percent say no. You don't see the public opinion moving on this at the current time, do you?
HIRONO: Oh, I don't know about -- you never know because Michael Flynn, there's some revelations really into Michael Flynn at his sentencing update. And so there are things that are developing all the time. And my hope is that the people of America will wake up to the fact that their health care is being jeopardized. For women in our country, they could wake up one morning and realize that they no longer have control over their own bodies. You know, there are a lot of things happening. And one hopes that by the time the election comes around, that the more American people will realize that this president is out of control.
BERMAN: Let me ask you about a statement the president made over the weekend about Iran. And this is something he wrote. The president said, if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again.
You're on the Armed Services Committee. I know you have a great deal of concern about U.S. men and women serving overseas. What do you make of the president's statement?
HIRONO: If the president thinks that he can resolve all these problems by military might, he's so wrong. It's something that Secretary Mattis said, you know, we need a diplomatic resolution to all these conflicts. And so this is a president who, once again, just thumping his chest acting like he is the dictator that I think he wants to be.
BERMAN: Let me play you what he said about North Korea. Kim Jong-un. Remind people of some of the language he used before on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Why are you sighing?
HIRONO: Well, this is before he fell in love with Kim Jong-un, I guess. So with this president, he's very unpredictable. He doesn't talk to anybody besides -- I don't know -- well, he mainly refers to himself to make decisions on foreign policy, and this is why it is really hard to rely upon pretty much, in my view, whatever the president says, both domestically and foreign policy.
BERMAN: Do you think the rhetoric worked with North Korea getting Kim Jong-un to the table?
HIRONO: I don't think -- I don't think so. Not particularly. And, at the same time, you know, we need to shore up our diplomatic resources and there are a lot of vacancies in the State Department that we need to fill. But the president doesn't go there.
BERMAN: Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii, thank you very much for being with us and being the very first lawmaker to be on our set. We really appreciate it.
HIRONO: I appreciate it. Aloha.
BERMAN: All right, Aloha.
CAMEROTA: OK, John, making history after flirting with disaster. Andy Scholes live at the PGA Championship to bring us a surprisingly exciting ending.
[06:57:32] BERMAN: Brooks Koepka holding on Sunday to win his second straight PGA Championship.
Andy Scholes live at Bethpage Black with the "Bleacher Report."
There were actually a few minutes of high drama here, Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: There certainly was, John. But, you know, in the end, it certainly seems like we've entered the Brooks Koepka era of golf. You know, the majority of fans who came out here to Bethpage Black on Thursday and Friday, they came to see Tiger Woods, but they may have accidentally seen the passing of the torch. Koepka was just dominating this tournament. He led wire to wire. But things got very interesting yesterday afternoon. Koepka started the day up seven strokes. The lead got all the way down to just one stroke with four holes to go, but he was able to hold off Dustin Johnson and win by two.
This is Koepka's fourth major win in his last eight tries. He's now the first golfer ever to hold back-to-back titles in two different majors. Koepka's also the reigning two-time U.S. Open champ.
And, you know, the 29-year-old from Florida doesn't show much emotion out there on the course but he did after putting in on 18. Our own Don Riddell sat down with Koepka and asked him about that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKS KOEPKA, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It felt great to say -- to say -- to say it mildly. It was special. The emotion I had there on 18 was something I've never experienced as a golfer. Something you don't see very often, even with me. I'm emotionless. I can be stoic at times. But that one -- that one meant more to me than I think people will ever know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Yes, and with the win, Koepka's now the number one ranked golfer in the world. And I tell you what, Alisyn, it was fascinating here yesterday. The fans here in New York, they were kind of rooting against Koepka on that back nine as he kept getting bogey after bogey. And Koepka said, though, you know, he knows New York fans. He expected it. He was kind of choking the tournament away. He used all that negative attention to refocus and go on to win the tournament.
CAMEROTA: I also liked the self-awareness, I'm emotionless.
CAMEROTA: I don't like to show anything or reveal anything.
BERMAN: I have no feelings.
CAMEROTA: I am -- I am robotic.
SCHOLES: He admits it. He's not the most animated guy, yes.
CAMEROTA: All right. Well, there you go. But that was an exciting ending. Andy, thank you very much.
And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, the Republicans reveal a crack over impeaching President Trump. NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion than I have.
[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One lonely Republican saying the Mueller report is a road map to impeachment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who know Justin Amash, this is exactly what he wants.